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Black Experiences in Tech: How Shipt Programs Aim to Increase Workforce Diversity

Nov 8, 2021
Nov 8, 2021

Black Experiences in Tech: How Shipt Programs Aim to Increase Workforce Diversity

Shipt is committed to creating opportunities and fostering partnerships with organizations dedicated to increasing workforce diversity.

At Shipt, we’re committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in all that we do and that includes our recruiting, hiring, and retention efforts. We've long engaged, and continue to invest, in a variety of initiatives that help ensure our workforce reflects the communities where we live and work and gives everyone access to the same opportunities. Those initiatives can be found in our own backyard and across the entire country.

Shipt has consistently created key partnerships aimed at engaging and inspiring those within our Birmingham community, including inviting Birmingham City School graduates to participate in apprenticeships through the Birmingham Promise Initiative.  

“We’re focused on doing our part to create an inclusive environment that’s representative of our diverse communities here at Shipt and across the entire tech industry,” said Mike Calvo, Chief Technology Officer at Shipt. “By investing in programs like Birmingham Promise, Pivot Technology School, and Innovate Birmingham, we’re increasing access to industry-leading education and helping make professional connections that matter.” 

Extending beyond Shipt and Birmingham, we’re providing opportunities for Black/African American talent to grow and thrive in the tech industry overall by sponsoring conferences, organizing career fairs, and hosting Shipt leader-led conversations. These all create opportunities that attract diverse talent. 

As a people-first company, we've seen firsthand how diversity, equity, and inclusion drive our business forward and create a thriving internal culture for our teams. And one of the most impactful ways we’ve been able to push diversity and inclusion further is by forming partnerships with and supporting organizations like Pivot Technology, BLK Men in Tech, Black Women Talk Tech, and Black Tech Tech Takeover. 

“Supporting organizations allows us at Shipt to upskill our internal talent and provide opportunities to external community members,” said Katie Inabinet, Senior Program Manager, Talent Acquisition. “Overall, we want to break down barriers and open up a path to engaging career opportunities." 

Our recruiting team partners with several organizations to not only recruit talent but to offer workforce development opportunities to those within our communities. Here’s a snapshot of those organizations and how Shipt has worked with them this year:

Black Women Talk Tech’s Roadmap to Billions Conference 

In August, Shipt sponsored Black Women Talk Tech’s Roadmap to Billions Conference, a virtual conference created by Black/African American women founders for Black/African American women founders and their supporters. Through our sponsorship, 14 internal team members and two women in the Birmingham community were able to be among the 1,000+ people in attendance with Shipt’s support. The conference featured four keynote sessions, expert speakers, breakout sessions, and recruiting opportunities for Shipt and other tech companies. Our recruiting team attended and held several conversations with industry leaders and potential candidates. 

Pivot Partnership

In step with our objective to fuel innovation through a diverse team, we partnered with Pivot Technology School to provide access to a unique 20-week, tech-based learning opportunity. The program, which started in July, teaches backend development and data analytics.

We awarded 19 current Shipt employees and 13 external applicants with scholarships, fully paid for by Shipt. And participants who complete the program are encouraged to apply for data analytics and engineering jobs at Shipt. 

This partnership was extremely important to me because I have always believed Shipt was invested in my growth. But, somewhere deep within, I didn’t feel as if I had the right skin tone to benefit from this type of support. Boy did Shipt prove me wrong! As a Black woman, the feeling is indescribable. I now have the opportunity to pursue something that I’m capable of but wasn’t exposed to as a child. I’m super excited to see what the opportunity will yield. - Bianca J. Shopper Excellence Senior Specialist

BLK Men in Tech Conference 2021

Shipt sponsored the 2021 BLK Men in Tech Conference. The conference aims to give Black/African American men and their allies the tools and resources needed for excelling in tech. Nineteen Shipt employees attended and Shipt’s Vice President of Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Aaron Limonthas, served as a moderator of the panel discussion, “How To Be Successful In Spaces Not Created for You” during the event of more than 1,200 registrants and 7,000+ streams. 

Black Tech Takeover

We had the opportunity to partner with Birmingham Black Techies as the presenting sponsor at their annual Black Tech Takeover, a three-day digital conference featuring panel discussions, a career fair, and networking opportunities. 

I added my resume to Black Tech Takeover’s resume book and attended Shipt’s panel during the conference. I was used to not hearing back from companies after submitting my resume, so I was surprised when I got a call from a Shipt recruiter about an interview a few weeks later. After a couple of months, I’m happy in my role as a product designer at Shipt, and I feel very fortunate that I was able to land my first full-time job by attending the conference. Events like Black Tech Takeover are not only necessary for Black talent to get a fair shot, but they’re also a great way to see which companies are serious about increasing diversity on their teams. - Kiyana C., Associate Product Designer

Webinar & Conversation Series With Shipt Leaders

As part of our ongoing efforts to spark conversation around diversity and inclusion in tech, our recruiting teams host an ongoing conversation series featuring Shipt leaders. Our most recent conversations included:  

  • A Conversation with Shipt’s Leaders, Plus Special Guests - Following the Black Tech Takeover event, Shipt leaders, Mike Calvo, Chief Technology Officer, and Marissa Dulaney, SVP of Product Design, Research, and Insights shared their thoughts on what it’s like to lead tech and product teams at Shipt and how Shipt contributes to creating a more inclusive environment internally and externally. Attendees, most of whom had previously interacted with Shipt through various networking and recruiting events, joined the conversation to connect with others and learn more about the tech field. 
  • Shipt Explores: Discussing Black Experiences in Tech - Moderated by Shipt’s Integrated Marketing Manager, this event focused on conversations with leaders from the BLK Men Tech and Black Women Talk Tech organizations. During this event, Shipt invited participants to join in a conversation with Kham Ward, BLK Men in Tech, and Regina Gwynn, Black Women Talk Tech, to explore the Black/African American community’s underrepresentation in the tech space and how the two organizations work to foster equity for Black/African American tech workers. More than 120 individuals from several cities including Birmingham, Dallas, Minneapolis, Houston, and more came together to hear how Shipt is working to change the landscape for people of color in tech and what others can do to support diversity and inclusion efforts.

Through these initiatives, Shipt has been able to attract even more top talent. And the work doesn’t stop here. In fact, we recently sent 8 engineers to RenderATL, the first major React (web technology) conference in the South with a goal of driving diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. And shortly after, Shipt recruiters and several tech team members attended this year’s Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration where women from all over come together for a week of networking, learning, and celebrations for their accomplishments in tech and engineering paths. The team will be actively recruiting for more great talent to join the Shipt team. 

We invite you along for the ride as we continue to help improve Black experiences in the tech space and continue Shipt’s commitment to fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in all that we do.

About Shipt

Shipt brings the store to your door. Through a community of Shipt Shoppers and a convenient app, Shipt provides personal shopping and delivery and is available to 80% of households in more than 5,000 U.S. cities. Shipt Shoppers go above and beyond, communicating in real time about preferences and substitutions. A curated marketplace of retailers, Shipt offers access to a variety of stores and product categories including fresh foods, household essentials, wellness products, office and pet supplies. Shipt is an independently operated, wholly owned subsidiary of Target Corp. Founded and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, Shipt also maintains an office in San Francisco. For more information, visit Shipt.com.

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